Basic Academy

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 Photo of staff at Basic Academy


The Basic Academy is a fully functional law enforcement training facility. In addition to the main academy building in Pittsburg CA, the academy is comprised of a firing range, driving course, and off-site “simulated ammunitions” enclosed dwellings.

The California Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training certifies the Basic Academy. This certification is required for those individuals seeking a position as a full-time peace officer in California.

Academy Overview

The Basic Academy is a 26-week law enforcement academy. The recruits that are accepted into the academy are either hired by a law enforcement agency or selected as a “non-affiliated recruit” or student. A non-affiliated recruit is chosen by the Academy staff based upon the results of a written test and an oral interview.

Once accepted into the Basic Academy, recruits are expected to perform at the standards set by the Academy staff. Recruits are given written exams on 42 learning domains throughout the 26 weeks. The learning domains cover subjects ranging from California laws to ethics and community relations. Any score below an 80% on these exams is considered a failing grade. The recruits are required to pass all of the written exams. Highly trained members of law enforcement organizations from around the Bay Area teach the tested material to the recruits. The instructors are experts in their field of instruction and offer on the job experience coupled with specialized training in the field. The instruction techniques include lecture, role-playing, and hands-on learning.

The academy recruits are required to participate in a rigorous physical fitness program that pushes them to improve and then maintain their physical and mental fitness throughout their law enforcement careers. Recruits should enter the academy with a high basic level of physical fitness. The paradigm of physical fitness training at the LETC is functional and job relevant. The dominant training modality at the Academy is referred to as High-Intensity Interval Training. (H.I.I.T.) In order to graduate from the academy, the recruits are required to pass a battery of physical tests to include a dummy drag, obstacle course, 1.5-mile run, and scale a 6 ft. wall. For more information about the Lifetime Fitness Program, see below.  

Academy Director interacting with recruit   

 Photo of staff at Basic Academy

In addition to mental and physical tests, the recruits will be expected to master the technical skills of firearms operation, defensive tactics, and emergency vehicle operation (EVOC). An experienced staff of firearms instructors educates the recruits on manipulation, safety practices, and the firing of handguns and shotguns. The recruits endure approximately 120 hours of hands on firearms training and are ultimately required to pass numerous handgun and shotgun courses. A team of defensive tactics instructors train the recruits in the art of control holds, handcuffing techniques, gun take away and retention, and baton strikes. The instruction is physically demanding and requires the recruits to master each technique and physically demonstrate it during a test. At the Basic Academy’s driving course, the recruits will learn the safe operation of an emergency vehicle. They will be tested on a timed driving course and required to perform a “pursuit” scenario.

At the end of the 26 weeks, provided the recruit has met all of the standards and passed all of the required tests, the recruit will graduate from the Basic Academy with a POST Basic Academy Certificate. Through a partnership with Los Medanos College, each recruit will also earn college credits (see accreditation below). Once a recruit has graduated from the Basic Academy, he or she is eligible for employment as a peace officer in most California jurisdictions.

Photo of officer in a practice rangeThe Basic Academy at the Contra Costa County Law Enforcement Training Center is considered one of the finest law enforcement training academies in the state. By employing the finest instructors, utilizing state of the art facilities, and placing an emphasis on an absolute commitment to the success of the recruits, the Contra Costa County Law Enforcement Training Center graduates law enforcement professionals that are second to none!

To attend the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff LETC Basic Academy, you may be hired by a law enforcement agency prior to attending, or you may choose to attend as a non-affiliated recruit. If you are hired by a law enforcement agency and attend as an affiliated recruit, you must meet the requirements of your hiring agency.

If you wish to attend as a non-affiliated recruit, you must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Be a US Citizen OR a permanent resident alien who is eligible for and has applied for citizenship on or within three years before the date of appointment as a peace officer (Gov't Code sections 1031 (a) and 1031.5).
  • Be a resident of California.
  • Be at least 20.5 years of age
  • Possess a valid High School Diploma, G.E.D., or California High School Proficiency (Gov't Code section 103 le).
  • Possess a valid California Driver License and maintain liability insurance.
  • Successfully complete the POST entry level Reading and Writing test (PELLET B) with a T-score of 40 or above. The written test is good for 1 year from the date it was taken.
  • Pass a personal background check which includes criminal history fingerprint check.
  • An arrest or conviction of a felony or certain misdemeanor crimes may preclude eligibility.
  • Successfully complete the interview process with the Academy Command Staff.
  • Obtain a full medical clearance from a physician.

: The cost of the Basic Police Academy is $4,385.00, which includes college registration, all associated training, material fees, and the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course.

The Bay Alarm Company will provide LETC Non-Affiliated Recruits (those not currently employed by an Agency) with scholarship funds, offsetting the cost of the Basic Academy. This does not cover the entire cost, as the amount is dependent upon the number of non-affiliated recruits in each class.

For more information regarding scholarships, please call the Academy at (925) 427-8238.

Accreditation: Graduates earn college credit from Los Medanos College and receive P.O.S.T. certification.

Registration: To apply for the Basic Academy, students must complete and pass the P.O.S.T. certified reading and writing comprehension test. Contact the Napa Valley College Criminal Justice Training Center or South Bay Regional Academy for information on the POST Pellet B exam. 

Location: The Basic Academy meets at the Law Enforcement Training Center at 340 Marina Boulevard, Pittsburg. Firearms, field tactics, and driver training are held at off campus sites.

Schedule may vary and location subject to change
**Additional $500 (approx.) for uniforms
***EVOC fee may be reimbursed by P.O.S.T. for affiliated students

For more information on the Basic P.O.S.T. Academy call 925-427-8238 or email




Upcoming Basic Academy Dates

 Orientation:  April 14 & 15, 2020
 Start Date:  Monday, April 27, 2020
 Graduation:  Friday, October 23, 2020


Orientation: Thursday, September 3, 2020
Start Date: Monday, October 5, 2020
Graduation: Friday, April 9, 2021


Orientation: TBD
Start Date: Monday, March 29, 2021
Graduation: Friday, September 24, 2021



Lifetime Fitness

The paradigm of physical fitness training has completely shifted at the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Basic Academy. The days of single plane, single joint resistance training (bodybuilding) are gone. The days of long, low-intensity slow jogs are also gone. Multi joint manipulation skills, multi planar movements, compound lifts, and exercises that mimic what peace officers WILL DO on duty are now common practice during Lifetime Fitness classes. Anaerobic cardiovascular exercises such as sprinting, vaulting, jumping, and simulated struggles/fighting are now common practice during Lifetime Fitness classes. Our basic exercises, and how they are combined, promote anaerobic power, anaerobic capacity, aerobic capacity, agility, sprint speed, strength, flexibility/joint range of motion, and core fitness. Other performance attributes that are improved upon are stamina, fast recovery, balance, stability, coordination, and proprioception. Peace officers need to become powerful tactical athletes, not bodybuilders or marathon runners.

The dominant training modality at the Academy is called High-Intensity Interval Training. (H.I.I.T.) Simply put, a number of different exercises are put together in a well thought out order to promote maximum gains for specific athletic and job relevant performances. These exercises typically engage more than one joint and muscle group at a time and work through all three planes of movement.

A high level of emphasis is placed on correct technique to prevent injury. Additionally, mobility, recovery, proper nutrition and the importance of maintaining a high level of physical fitness throughout the recruit’s career are stressed through the program. 

It is expected that recruits will enter the academy with a strong baseline level of physical fitness. Individuals who aspire to attend the academy should start working on their physical fitness NOW, and not wait until the academy start date is imminent.

Common Types of Exercises Include the Following:

Push ups (many different variations)     Pull ups     Dips     Full sit ups     Leg lifts

Presses (overhead presses and floor presses)     Box jumps

Squats (bodyweight or “air squats,” goblet squats with a kettlebell and back squats with a barbell)

Lunges (many different variations)     Supermans (burpees with push up and jump)

Deadlifts     Medicine ball work     Bear crawls     Broad jumps     Jump rope

Sprinting     Kettle bell swings     Striking bags     Tire flips     Dumbell snatches

Sled pushes and sled drags      Rope climbs

Suggested Anaerobic Resistance Routines to Get You Started

1) 3x 10 -25 push ups, ¼ mile sprint, 5-10 pull ups, 25-50 crunches.

2) 3x 10 -25 push ups, 1-2 min. jump rope, 5-10 pull ups, 10-25 kettle bell swings.

3) As many rounds as possible for 15 minutes of bear crawl for 40 yards, broad jumps for 40 yards, inchworms for 40 yards, 25 -50 air squats.

4) For time: 50 push ups, 50 walking lunges, 50 crunches, 50 air squats.

5) 4x  25 “supermans”, 800 m run

6) 3x working for 45 seconds, rest for 15 of each: kettlebell swings, push ups, air squats, box jumps

The exercises are done in this order, with no rest, and then repeated again in the same order. Or you may test your mental toughness and push yourself to do one of these routines for a certain number of repetitions, affording yourself small rest periods, timing yourself to see how long it takes for you to complete. For example, you may challenge yourself and say, “I am going to complete routine 3, five times and see how long it takes me.” Then a week later, see if you can beat your time.

Running can also be used to develop your anaerobic capacity in addition to your aerobic capacity. When running, it is important to focus on keeping your heart rate at anaerobic levels rather than just aerobic levels. Without getting too scientific, anaerobic exercise is high-intensity exercise where oxygen levels are depleted at the cellular level. A short foot pursuit, a jump over a fence, and a fight for your life are anaerobic actions. Running sprint intervals is a way to develop your anaerobic capacity. Aerobic capacity is also an important conditioning need. During aerobic exercises, such as slow jogging for long periods of time, oxygen is used to produce energy. Improving your anaerobic capacity and your aerobic capacity not only improves your performance, but more importantly, improves your overall cardiovascular health.

Suggested Running Routines to Get You Started:

20 min. H.I.I.T. workout. Intensity levels 1-10 (1 being a walking pace, 10 being an all out sprint.)

How it works:

Minutes 0-2 is at level 5 (warm up).

Minute 2-3 level 6, min. 3-4 level 7, min. 4-5 level 8, min. 5-6 level 9.

Minute 6-7 level 6, min. 7-8 level 7, min. 8-9 level 8, min. 9-10 level 9.

The above pattern is followed 2 more times for a total of 4 intensity increasing intervals. (16 mins. of work).

At minute 18-19, level 10 all out sprint for 1 minute.

Minute 19-20, back down to level 5 (cool down).

You are done, 20 minutes of work.

Complete this only once a day, 3 to 4 times a week. Your running will greatly improve.

Track workout #1

How it works:

1 mile warm up (medium pace jogging), one-minute rest.

6 x ¼ mile sprint (high-intensity pace), one-minute rest between each ¼ mile.

½ mile cool down (slow pace jogging).

Complete once a week, keeping track of times to make sure there is improvement each week.

Track workout #2

How it works:

1 mile warm up, one-minute rest.

2 x ½ mile sprints, one-minute rest between sprints.

2 x ¼ mile sprints, one-minute rest between sprints.

4 x 100 yard sprints, one-minute rest between sprints.

½ mile cool down (slow pace jogging).

Once again, only complete this workout once a week.

Other Recommendations

It is also strongly recommended that potential recruits, especially those who cannot complete five strict pull ups, start working early on to improve in this area. Suggestions for building upper body strength include assisted pull ups and dips, deficit pull ups (jumping up to the top of the pull-up position and lowering yourself down,) and ring rows. Additionally, weight training exercises such as dumbbell/barbell rows and pull downs will help build upper body strength.

Additionally, potential recruits should spend time evaluating their nutritional habits. Proper nutrition is crucial to perform well physically and mentally in both the academy and in the field of law enforcement.